When you think of the bleeding edge of the PCL property market, of the difference between a £3m flat in Chelsea and one that’s worth a mere £2m, you might conjure images of exquisitely-preserved period features or green rooftop oases. But the prime concern may be something a little more prosaic: off street parking.
As we steadily move towards electric car ownership – 2020 saw the biggest increase in purchases of electric cars, with a rise of 66 per cent since 2019 – being able to park and fully charge your car outside your home has become a new priority, prized as highly as private outside space and home offices.
Off-street parking for some clients has always been a key requirement, often citing security for a valuable car or to feel safe when getting out of a car and entering their home. There is also the improved ease of living, and particularly for those with young children, the last thing you want is to waste time trying to find a free electrical charging point with impatient siblings squabbling in the back seats.
The search for ‘best in class’ properties remains unchanged, but now these searches will often need to include off-street parking, not only for the above reasons, but also in order to help protect buyers’ investments and maximise price per sq ft on exit. It is hard to put an exact premium on the upside of having off-street parking by virtue of differing architecture and the cache of certain streets, but our gut sense is that it can be as high as 20 per cent.
Having an in-depth understanding of the architectural variations in these areas is key in identifying the very best houses on the most sought after streets, which also benefit from off-street parking. This particular requirement can considerably narrow the search, which means we are laser focused in targeting a small selection of properties.
We are currently in a sellers’ market and as such many of the best houses are transacting quietly off-market. Strong prices of over £4,000 per sq ft are being consistently achieved for unmodernised houses with off-street parking in prime roads in Notting Hill. Addresses such as Lansdowne Road, Clarendon Road, parts of Ladbroke Road, Pembridge Place, Addison Road, The Boltons and Gilston Road are where some of the larger houses with off-street parking can be found within the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
Equally, there are certain roads, including particular stretches of the white stucco Holland Park villas, which benefit from having a mews attached at the rear of the house which is arguably better in many ways to have fully secure parking whilst charging.
Given the changes in legislation, we fully expect the roads to become quieter due to the reduced number of internal combustion engine vehicles, and hopefully we will also see an improvement in air quality. This might well influence buyers to buy large houses with off-street parking on busier roads, which historically many would have been deterred by, but on a price per sq ft basis provide slightly better value.
Having a house with off-street parking for an electric car and a large private garden, which ideally leads directly onto a communal garden or overlooking a garden square are all top priorities. We are living in the age of convenience, where time is at a premium and for many, there is a willingness to spend considerably more to secure a home that will deliver at every level.
Hannah Aykroyd is MD of Aykroyd&Co. For more information visit the website here.